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Rear Window: Voyeuristic Interaction

By rusty in News
Tue Mar 07, 2000 at 10:46:42 AM EST
Tags: Movies (all tags)

I recently had a chance to catch Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window at a great old movie theater in DC called The Uptown (it's even got a balcony!). If you've never seen the film, it's about a photographer (Jimmy Stewart) who broke his leg photographing a car race. Bored and wheelchair-bound in his tiny New York apartment, he takes to looking out his rear window and observing the lives of his neighbors. But things take turn when he puts together a few events and concludes that one of his neighbors is actually a murderer.

If you've read this far, you're probably under the impression that this is going to be a movie review. I feel I should warn you now that it's really more of an essay. If you haven't seen Rear Window, do go out and rent it.

Rear Window is, at heart, an exploration of voyeurism. Jimmy Stewart's "L.B. Jeffries" is a photographer, which is a person that by definition is supposed to be an observer. Yet the film hints at his long history of becoming embroiled in events that he is only supposed to be taking pictures of. So it should be no real surprise that he feels compelled to act on his suspicions that his neighbor Lars Thorwald (menacingly played by a surprising non-avuncular Raymond Burr) has killed his wife, and she is not, in fact, "visiting in the country."

He, of course, can't act directly. 1954 was the heyday of the totally immobilizing plaster cast, and Jeffries is unable to leave the apartment. One of the most interesting features of the film, cinematographically, is that Hitchcock chose to keep the camera with Stewart's character at all times. So the audience, as well, is stuck in his apartment for the entire film, reinforcing the voyeurism of Jeffries, and making us co-conspirators in his machinations.

"What happens when people start looking out at a world that can't see them?" asks Rear Window. And the answer it provides is the quantum-mechanically correct one. In fact, says the film, by observing something, you become a participant in it, inescapably.

Jeffries believes he has witnessed a murder, and therefore has an obligation to bring the truth to light, despite all the evidence that no foul play has occurred, and the hearty disinterest of his police inspector friend. Underlying his noblesse oblige, though, is the assumption that he himself is separate from the events he observes; that he can hold himself apart from the world, while still influencing events in it.

He finds out this is not the case, when Lars Thorwald finally comes lumbering through his door. Trapped in a wheelchair, and totally defenseless, Jeffries' only means of self defense is the flash of his camera, which he uses in the dark room to temporarily blind Thorwald and slow his inevitable approach. The bludgeoning symbolism here, of course, is that the world can't hurt you if you expose it to the light of observation.

Jeffries ends up getting thrown out the window. So much for that theory.

Ultimately, though, Thorwald is brought to justice for the murder which he did, in fact, commit, and Jeffries ends up with another broken leg, and several more months of recovery in which to ponder his vindication. So the film makes no judgments of whether or not Jeffries was right or wrong in his voyeuristic activities, but merely points out that if you choose to take part in events, you might not be as safely hidden as you think you are.

But what does any of this have to do with us? Consider, if you will, the parallels between Hitchcock's "rear window" and the internet. Both are windows into a world outside our own small experience. Both allow a sense of being able to see without being seen, and to interact anonymously. Jeffries writes an anonymous note to Thorwald, accusing him of the murder, and later places a similar phone call. Readers of this site can post anonymous notes, saying whatever they want, in the belief that no one can ever know it was them, and therefore what takes place online is somehow apart from the real world.

This can be a good thing. Anonymous whistle blowers can force changes in even the biggest of corporations, and bring truth to light that would otherwise have remained buried. But it can also lead people to abandon the rules of social interaction that they've long been taught, and say things they'd never even consider saying to someone's face.

Flamewars have long been a staple of online communication, and I believe that the "Rear Window Effect" has a lot to do with it. While in a face-to-face conversation with someone, you might say "Perl has been useful in the past, but Python has a much cleaner syntax and will come to be the glue language of choice in the near future, I think," the same person, posting anonymously or pseudonymously online, might phrase it as "You idiot! Anyone who still puts up with all that crap Perl makes you spew out must have a screw loose! Python rules."

The basic difference between the two is not the opinion, really, but the context. The internet permits a weird form of voyeuristic interaction, enabling you to communicate with many other people, and yet simultaneously forget that there are people on the other end of the wire at all. When there is no sense of "society" enforcing its rules of interaction, those rules tend to be very easy to forget. And the larger the internet grows, the less it is able to maintain the traditional "netiquette" that formerly served in place of RL social pressure. A bunch of people all forgetting that there are social rules for interacting with others are not a very good source of civilizing influence.

Much like "Rear Window," I have no real concluding pronouncements to make on the subject, other than to say that sometimes voyeurism and anonymous interaction can be good, and sometimes not so good. I do wonder, though, if the curious novelty of being able to speak without apparent responsibility, and the frequent negative consequences thereof, will in time wear off. If, in fact, the net will develop it's own means of applying social pressure to it's participants and enforcing civility, perhaps after too many people have endured too many flamewars, and finally gotten fed up with it.

Like L.B. Jeffries, we'll just have to keep watching.


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Rear Window: Voyeuristic Interaction | 18 comments (18 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
Maybe it's true... (none / 0) (#1)
by stimuli on Tue Mar 07, 2000 at 10:03:44 AM EST

stimuli voted 1 on this story.

Maybe it's true. But I found the more time I spent on things like IRC or Usenet, the more I wanted to have an identity there and to be known by my fellows. And that requires not behaving like an ass. Online communities can function much like real life communities, at least in the important way, including getting to know folks, disallowing folks who behave badly, and all of those things. In fact, I think sucessful online communities will have to do some of those things just to be sane.
-- Jeffrey Straszheim

Re: Maybe it's true... (none / 0) (#2)
by rusty on Tue Mar 07, 2000 at 11:08:47 AM EST

Indeed. This is why traditional netiquette has worked. What I wonder is what kind of changes will need to happen before more people will realize that if they truly do act like there's nothing keeping them from doing whatever they want to, that everything just breaks down. Will it just take time, or does the net need to grow a new culture? Or perhaps it's just a matter of size-- that within smaller communities, there's more pressure to "behave yourself," and the problems we do see come from communities that are just too large.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Re: Maybe it's true... (1.00 / 1) (#3)
by stimuli on Tue Mar 07, 2000 at 11:51:05 AM EST

Well, I've seen IRC channels that could run themselves pretty well: mainly because the ops kicked anyone who was a jerk. Also, I've seen those same channels go to the dogs when there were differences of opinions among the bot masters and lots of stupid politicing. No doubt you've seen the same.

There is a size, I think, past which a small number of sensible folks can no longer run things. Slashdot has reached that size. Usenet did ages ago.

One possible solution is to keep forking communities as they grow. No doubt kuro5hin could be described as just such a fork of slashdot. Presumably all those weirdos who like petrified girls and hot grits can form their own little community, where they discuss such things. I hope they enjoy themselves, whatever it is they do.

And folks won't miss out on the wider community this way, simply because there is no reason to restrict yourself to one community. I monitor several forums, including some Usenet groups, and so forth, and I think I get a sufficiently broad spectrum of interest and opinion. And I avoid seeing too many stupid people saying too many stupid things.
-- Jeffrey Straszheim
[ Parent ]

Re: Maybe it's true... (none / 0) (#10)
by fluffy grue on Tue Mar 07, 2000 at 10:56:47 PM EST

My two favorite channels of all time have been AnotherNet #coders (the faction who left from EFnet when #trax went to AnotherNet) and #everything (yes, as much as I hate andover.net, I've got a LOT of time and energy vested in Everything). The first one was my favorite because it was small and filled with people who liked to discuss coding, and I left when it had begun to get big and lame like its EFnet counterpart. The second one I haven't hung out in much lately because a lot of #slashdot rejects go there after they've been banned from #slashdot.

My least favorite hangout of all time was a channel setup for discussion on a mailinglist I was on. The "admins" were incompetent (knew NOTHING about the IRC protocol, and didn't trust me because I did and so could potentially become a "hacker" or some similar nonsense) and were constantly trying to setup these stupid, useless hierarchies, shitloads of rules and regulations in the channel, and tried to herd the channel members around rather than foster a fun environment for discussion.

I think that when a channel or discussion area or whatever is small, people tend to be cozy. When there's a major influx of new users, they start to bring a lot of noise, mostly because they don't have any of the culture or background, and then a destructive pattern emerges: they're just another speck in a vast sea of people, so who'll care if they're destructive? So they do something stupid, then find out that they weren't kickbanned, so they do even more stupid stuff, which encourages others to start being stupid, and so on until the iron mitten of the channel ops comes down and makes them laughable and causes others, even long-time members, to join in on the trouble. And usually, it seems that the ops don't listen to the suggestions of people who have seen this before, and instead implement wild and crazy shit which is flawed to begin with (such as moderation) and then keep on trying to salvage a bad idea with even more ludicrious notions.

In the case of #coders, I saw this happen on a grander scale on AnotherNet as well. The AnotherNet admins decided they wanted to be one of those damned "family-oriented" IRC networks, which was quite contrary to the two channels which started AnotherNet (namely #trax and the splinter group of #coders), and they began to persecute the very same users who got them started to begin with. (I was actually k:lined for a while when I mentioned to the head honcho that there were serious flaws in his automatic-kill-on-join system, where it would automatically kill anyone who joined a channel matching the mask *[Ss5][3eE][Xx]* or *[Ww][4Aa][Rr][3Ee][s5z]* - not only was it real easy to kill others who had an auto-join-on-invite script turned on, but it killed a lot of innocent bystandards such as ones who would join, say, #essex or #sextant or #housewares or whatever.)

Hm. I thought I had a point, but I guess I was just agreeing with you and backing your statements up with more anecdotal data.

Personally, I'd like to see something on K5 which would mine Slashdot periodically for article links so that I'd never have to visit there again just to see if I'm missing anything. Then I'd never get the urge to randomly troll on there anymore, either. :) I'd be willing to write something like that, which perhaps parsed the index page's HTML for article names and related links, but I'm afraid it'd be written in C++. ;)
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Anonymity (none / 0) (#4)
by Anonymous Hero on Tue Mar 07, 2000 at 12:01:50 PM EST

I haven't seen the film (tho by Rusty's account it sounds quite cool - nice review, btw), and so I wonder how the bad dude finds out who sent the anonymous note. It sort of reminds me about the teenage guy that used a hotmail account to blackmail IBM ("give me loadsa money or I will blow you up and p.s. I have a video camera in there watching what you do" was the general gist), who obviously thought he was being very clever whilst remaining anonymous, when in fact hotmail drops in the IP address into the message headers (probably sick of abuse) and IBM were easily able to trace it to an AOL account (surprise?) who then cooperated in nailing the guy.

The film would have probably not been so good if Hitchcock had tried to impose any morals or opinions on it.

Re: Anonymity (none / 0) (#5)
by rusty on Tue Mar 07, 2000 at 12:05:34 PM EST

Actually, he just looks out the window and catches Stewart staring at him, during the "anonymous" phone call, I think. Nothing particularly clever. :-)

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Re: Rear Window: Voyeuristic Interaction (none / 0) (#6)
by Anonymous Hero on Tue Mar 07, 2000 at 02:43:48 PM EST

I actually haven't seen this film, but I have seen a thousand and one references to it in comedys, cartoons etc... Nice to know where it's from. (For instance, the simpsons had an epp where bart saw what he thought was flanders murdering his wife).

Re: Rear Window: Voyeuristic Interaction (5.00 / 1) (#7)
by rongen on Tue Mar 07, 2000 at 05:23:23 PM EST

Just to throw another log on the fire, I would like to contribute an interesting idea I read about a year or so ago. I have no reference for this but I am pretty sure it was an essay linked to from a Slashdot post... Anyway, the idea was as follows: the 'Net, as a community, has the ability to impose shame on it's contributors. "Hot Grits"-boy may not feel this shame at first, but 20 intelligent people "shaming" him may eventually hammer home the point that this behavior just isn't welcome.

On the other hand the 'Net also allows "Hot Grits"-boy to open a new Slashdot account as "Freshman CS student" and then, a few years later, as "open source developer", without anyone knowing this is the same fellow posting. In fact he may use this instant forgiveness as a way to right the wrongs of his past by contributing intelligently to his chosen forums. In this way a person can re-invent themselves---and we tend to do this online. Things aren't so easy in the real world. An evenings drunken buffoonery at a New Years party could ruin one's career. Being a jerk in a chat room probably won't have this impact on your life.

Sometimes I think this system of imposing shame instead of punishment and the possibility of the re-invention of one's personality are among the greatest gifts the Internet has given us. We can often find a sense of community, and it is mostly based solely on the free exchange of ideas. Furthermore, it is almost always NOT based on the wealth, status (unless you are a cool open-source developer!), and physical attractiveness of the members of that community.

Crime and punishment is something people have struggled with since the dawn of time (in one sense or another). Often we find it doesn't work. In many cases people re-offend, or just can't re-integrate into society; probably they never felt welcome in it to begin with. Wouldn't it be great if the 'Net method of dealing with "criminals" could find a place in our justice systems? Of course this would require us to be forgiving and compassionate---can this be done without becoming "chumps" in the proces? I sure hope so.

Just some more food for thought.

PS> I am aware that some violent crimes may not be acceptably dealt with in this manner... but maybe vandalism, assault, drunk driving, theft, etc, could be candidates. I would also like to point out that many societies, past and present, have used this system as part of the way they deal with crime.
read/write http://www.prosebush.com

Re: Rear Window: Voyeuristic Interaction (5.00 / 1) (#8)
by analog on Tue Mar 07, 2000 at 06:29:23 PM EST

Most excellent. Truly insightful. One thing that seems to be getting more and more common in our society (I'm American, btw) is making people pay for a single screw up for the rest of their lives. This has degenerated to the point that a teenager blowing off some steam at school ("leave me alone or I'll kill you!") is expelled and charged with an act of terrorism. As well, there is always a push to make sure they're charged as adults so the conviction stays on their public record after they turn 18. I'm sure it makes the authorities involved feel nice and self righteously fuzzy, but I have no idea what they hope to accomplish. Instead of ruining the kid's life, how about finding out why he's so pissed off?

When I was in high school, I lived in (then) West Germany. A friend of mine got stupid one night and went out and spray painted graffiti on a bunch of buildings. He was found out, and arrested by the Polizei. His punishment? He had to go wash the graffiti off the buildings it would wash off of, and paint the rest (he also had to pay for materials). It took him two weeks of afternoons and weekends. What was the end result? No entry on his criminal record, some clean buildings, and a guy (and a bunch of his friends who didn't want the same thing to happen to them) who was done with graffiti for life.

Contrast that with the situation in California, where we are voting on a law today that would allow them to try a kid who did the same thing (graffiti is considered a 'gang related activity' in many jurisdictions) as an adult and send him to prison. Which one of these reactions is more likely to result in an adult who is a productive member of society?

[ Parent ]

Re: Rear Window: Voyeuristic Interaction (5.00 / 1) (#9)
by rusty on Tue Mar 07, 2000 at 06:49:41 PM EST

I second all of that.

The whole shame vs. punishment thing is interesting. One of the major differences between Western and Eastern cultures (traditionally, I don't know how true this still is) has been shame vs punsihment. Westerners tend to be brought up with the idea that "if no one saw you, it didn't happen" whereas Easterners are taught that you always have to live wiht what you've done, whether anyone but you knows it or not.

This may be one of the contributing factors to the newbie's typical orgy of antisocial online behavior. They've been, for the most part so far, kids raised in western cultures, and perhaps the sense that "no one can see you, so nothing is real" is liberating.

But eventually, online society relies on shame to police itself, since, short of cracking and system intrusion, there's not much you can do if someone is pissing you off in an IRC channel or wherever. But I think rongen is right, in that eventually even the most 'l33t of newbies develops a sense of shame and respect for people who show them how to behave.

Somehow trust factors in here, but I'm too tired and code-happy to figure out exactly where at the moment. :-)

PS-- Scoop 0.5 will feature ramdisk-based caching of nearly everything. Comments, Users, Stories... etc. Got Users and Comments implemented. It's on the way :-)

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Just treating the symptoms? (3.00 / 1) (#11)
by Inoshiro on Wed Mar 08, 2000 at 12:19:47 AM EST

While being a bufoon or a jerk is a function of stupidity, generally, crime isn't.

Crime is about wants clashing with reality, or needs clashing with reality.

An example of a want crime is rape. A guy wants to have sex with a woman, but cannot find a willing parter. So they turn to rape. This is very wrong, and the person obviously, when growing up, was not properly taught morality and empathy. This is where prisons and moral rehabilitation are supposed to take over.

An example of a need crime is stealing food to feed your starving children. Welfare is setup to help people who are out of work, and stop need crimes by providing for the basic needs.

Now, shaming a person who has committed a crime could work if their crime was a want crime, and if it wasn't a very big one (like shoplifting). Otherwise, it's off to a serious counselling session and prison term.

Of course, there are also criminals who are so because of extenuating circumstances (manslaughter, mental illness). Shaming doesn't work because the person is generally either not aware, or did not have concious control, of themselves at the time. This is where being put in ye olde nuthatch is required :-)

Note: A lot of serial killers are classified as mental illness. Bodies of serial killers generally have higher than average concentrations of heavy metals (like lead and mercury). Heavy metals beyond a certain concentration cause intense dimentia.

[ イノシロ ]
[ Parent ]
Re: Just treating the symptoms? (none / 0) (#14)
by rongen on Wed Mar 08, 2000 at 06:43:29 AM EST

While being a buffoon or a jerk is a function of stupidity, generally, crime isn't.

This is a good point... I didn't really address it. Of course we've all acted like jerks at one time or another and probably lived to regret it, and we all probably consider ourselves to be reasonably intelligent as well (otherwise why would we be trying to share our views here?). Also, I generally agree that there are some types of crimes for which shaming is ineffective and may even be counter-productive. But keep reading:

An example of a want crime is rape. A guy wants to have sex with a woman, but cannot find a willing parter.

I'm going to have to take issue with this point. I really don't think this is the only (or even a common) reason why rape exists. In fact many experts in the field believe that rape is more about having a sense of power over someone than it is about wanting sex... Most guys who can't find a "willing partner" suffer in silence and pray they get lucky "next weekend", they don't commit rape.

I wanted to point you to some on-line resources about rape, and it's psychological motivations. But most of the on-line resources I found after a quick search were not really very authoritative... more like documents posted by rape crisis centers than academic papers (still worth a read though, but very easy for anyone to find). But suffice it to say there is a lot of literature available in libraries, etc, that addresses this issue.

I also feel that crime is more about feeling separated from society more than about poverty. Lack of goods sucks, but it also makes people feel like they are not living is the same society as all the people who have everything they need (and I'm talking about everything from adequate nutrition for their children, to a that expensive jacket you'll never be able to afford). They want to be part of that society. In this sense theft is a "want" crime as you say. But the way to stop these crimes isn't to whack the person with a newspaper (or worse) every time they commit a crime. The just doesn't work. Really. It makes them feel that they are even less a part of the society, which makes it that much easier to strike out against it. It's time to figure out what we need to do to deal with crime before it happens, not afterward.
read/write http://www.prosebush.com
[ Parent ]

Re: Just treating the symptoms? (5.00 / 2) (#15)
by analog on Wed Mar 08, 2000 at 11:11:42 AM EST

More good comments. I think perhaps we should put the rape as a way to get sex thing to rest right now; it's a control crime, pure and simple. Sex has little to nothing to do with it. And I have to say, if you're talking about crimes like this, I think you're moving into an area where Rongen's ideas don't apply. I happen to think putting people in prison for non-violent crimes is a massive error on the part of modern society (and despite what most people seem to think, it's only been a common way to deal with crime for a little over 100 years), but for murderers, rapists, etc, I've got no problem with that.

That said, I think you have to realize that the vast majority of crime is non-violent in nature; the question then becomes, how do you deal with that? I think jails/prisons are the wrong answer. Here in California, one of the first people put in prison for life under the three strikes law stole a pizza. Another went for stealing a bicycle. Since that law passed, our prison population has tripled. The vast majority convicted under three strikes commited non-violent crimes. I think there are better ways of dealing with this.

I also feel that crime is more about feeling separated from society more than about poverty.

Speaking as someone who was born very poor (and has thankfully been able to leave that behind him), I have to let you know that they're one and the same. Don't underestimate how removed from American society in general the poor feel. Everything in this country is geared to pretending that they don't exist (a friend I took to my hometown said to me "I didn't know places like this existed in this country". Too many don't). One of my cousins who, like me, is of an academic bent, used to like to tell this joke: "We're the black sheep of the family, because we've never been in jail and we graduated from high school".

Someone who is not from that background would find it hard to understand, but we were ostracized by some members of our family because we played by society's rules. There can very much be a feeling that all the opportunities provided by society are geared toward the 'rich' (people who are middle class by most standards were rich by ours), so why should we follow society's rules when they won't let us participate? Another misconception people have is that the poor stay that way because they're too lazy to do otherwise. That is true for some; however, rest assured that the contempt you feel for those people is nothing compared to that felt by those of us who have at least tried to make a better life for ourselves.

Having said that though, I think most don't understand how incredibly difficult it can be to move out of poverty; every program the government has for the poor is basically geared at keeping them where they are. Your best bet at moving up and out is to refuse the help. This is one of the reasons for 'career' welfare recipients. The programs are designed in such a way as to make it nearly impossible to get off of them. This is because they're designed by people that have never been to a very poor area, let alone lived in one. It's an extremely tough nut to crack, and we're going about it in all the wrong ways.

So how does this tie into the crime thread? Simple. Most crime in this country (and despite how full the news is of crime, you don't hear about most of it) is motivated by poverty. The rich don't steal (yes, these are generalizations, all the usual disclaimers and warnings apply). If, instead of throwing a petty thief in jail, you make him work it off, you've done two things: shown him it can be done (do not underestimate the importance of this), and given him a way to get what he wants that is less trouble in the long run than stealing. This is the way to deal with crimes like this, and as I say, despite what people seem to think, these constitute the majority of crimes (in America, anyway).

I know this is something of a diatribe, but hey, Rusty wanted culture. This is part of it, and I have a feeling it's a part that most readers of this site have little to no experience with. Call this my attempt to expand the horizons a little.

[ Parent ]

Re: Just treating the symptoms? (none / 0) (#18)
by Inoshiro on Fri Mar 10, 2000 at 08:32:03 PM EST

I understand your point, which is basically the same as mine.

I grew up under less than happy circumstances. For a long time, eating regularly and having a house was something I thougth rich people did.

It's not pleasant. I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

[ イノシロ ]
[ Parent ]
Communities, on-line and otherwise (none / 0) (#12)
by FlinkDelDinky on Wed Mar 08, 2000 at 05:45:05 AM EST

I'm not really posting about Rear Window, I haven't even seen it (but I want to now). The part about on-line civility is what motivates me to write letter. I think civility is directly related to the sensation of being a part of a community. Which, many believe, in turn is directly related to the size of the community. Judging by letters throughout Kuro5hin's forums many of you have beliefs along these lines too. I want to explore this idea of the smaller communities being more civil just to make sure I understand it. Then I want to tell you why I think Kuro5hin will continue to be a real community as it passes from a virtual hammlet to a Cybertropolis. I think the idea of smaller communities being more 'civil' is true and false depending on the substance of an individual. If you share the values of the community you'll do fine. But what if you don't share the values of the community. Or even more frightening, what if you can't share the values of the community. Some extreme (but still valid) examples: Imagine yourself an athiest in a deeply religious town. You could survive, even thrive, but you probably could never truly express your beliefs in a public forum in that town. At least not without fear of negative consequences. Imagine yourself an African American in a small town in the Old South (or anywhere back then). The above are merely to point out that small communities have a price. There may be less crime but there's also less constructive conflict. Or in cyber talk, there's a good signal to noise ratio but nobody's saying anything new. So much for my views on the cyber hamlet. On to the Cybertropolis... In a large community the values that form the community are still present but fuzzeid so that deviations from the norm are often tolerated, occasionally explored, and even, in rare instances, accepted to become part of the norm. But this is an inherently a noisy process. The signal to noise ratio changes. Noise isn't neccessarily a bad thing though. It's the quality of the noise that counts. But you knew that didn't you. Now we're at the crux of the problem: abuse. Better known as spam. I know spam when I read it an so do you; pretty much that's the definition of it as well. Mostly it seems an act of frustration. But nobody likes it. It's designed to cause even more disatisfaction in the community. It's a kind of cyber cancer. And it should be treated as such. So we've got the tension between 'civility' with a small focused group, a more tolerent noisy 'civilty' and a large group, and abuse. I think Kuro5hin can achieve noisy civilty when it grows into a Cybertropolis but Rusty's spam solution will have to change. I don't think Rusty should be the guy who decides what spam is (I actually don't have a problem with this, but it just won't cut it on a big board). I believe with the greater conflict inherent in Cybertropolis policing will be neccessary. I believe Rusty and others have expressed concern that anti-spam measures will provoke abuse. Story moderation is probably going to be a big factor in cutting out a lot of spam. The more frustration you reduce, the more 'civilty' you get. But there are still fundamentally abusive people. These people will exist no matter what and must be dealt with. Perhaps you could add a moderation rating of "spam" and do something there. Whatever you do, I think it should be communal. This will be the critical thing in Kuro5hin's survival as a quality board. Ahh, I'm to tired to continue. Signing off...

Re: Communities, on-line and otherwise (none / 0) (#13)
by FlinkDelDinky on Wed Mar 08, 2000 at 05:49:55 AM EST

What happenned to all my paragraphs? Then again, a huge block of text makes me look smart :-).

[ Parent ]
Re: Communities, on-line and otherwise (none / 0) (#16)
by rongen on Wed Mar 08, 2000 at 06:17:29 PM EST

<p>When you are posting just add some html paragraph tags ("<p>") in the appropriate places and select "HTML Formatted" from the selection menu next to "Post" and "Preview" at the bottom of the comment box...

<p>If this post had been done this way you would not be able to see the "<p>" tags. Instead there would be paragraph breaks there... I hope this helps!
read/write http://www.prosebush.com
[ Parent ]

Re: Communities, on-line and otherwise (none / 0) (#17)
by FlinkDelDinky on Thu Mar 09, 2000 at 04:30:54 PM EST


I'm wondering what the rest do now. Is this bold? Did I turn it off? What about italics?

[ Parent ]

Rear Window: Voyeuristic Interaction | 18 comments (18 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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